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possessed a voice of much power and expression, and a mind of marvellous force and action that enabled him, despite his physical defects, to become one of the famous orators of his time.
HE first question that presents itself is, shall the people of the South secede from the Union in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States? My countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly, and earnestly, that I do not think they ought. In my judgment the election of no man, constitutionally elected to that high office, is sufficient cause for any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the government, to withdraw from it because a man has been constitutionally elected, puts us in the wrong. We pledged to maintain the Constitution. Many of us have sworn to support it. But it is said Mr. Lincoln's policy and principles are against the Constitution, and that, if he carries them out, it will be destructive of our rights. Let us not anticipate a threatened evil. If he violates the Constitution, then will come our time to act. Do not let us break it because, forsooth, he may. If he does, that is the time for
of those who believe this Union has been a curse
up to this time. True men, men of integrity, entertain different views from me on this subject. I do not question their right to do so; I would not impugn their motives in so doing. Nor will I undertake to say that this government of our fathers is perfect. There is nothing perfect in this world, of a human origin. Nothing connected with human nature, from man himself to any of his works. You may select the wisest and best men for your judges, and yet how many defects are there in the administration of justice? You may select the wisest and best men for your legislators, and yet how many defects are apparent in your laws? And it is so in our government.
But that this government of our fathers, with all its defects, comes nearer the objects of all good governments than any on the face of the earth, is my settled conviction. Contrast it now with any on the face of the earth. ("England," said Mr. Toombs.) England, my friend says. Well, that is the next best, I grant; but I think we have improved upon England. Statesmen tried their apprentice hands on the government of England, and then ours was made. Ours sprung from that, avoiding many of its defects, taking most of the good and leaving out many of its errors, and, from the whole, constructing and building up this
model republic, the best which the history of the world gives any account of.
Compare, my friends, this government with that of Spain, Mexico, the South American Republics, Germany, Ireland — are there any sons of that down-trodden nation here to-night? - Prussia, or, if you travel farther East, to Turkey or China. Where will you go, following the sun in his circuit round our globe, to find a government that better protects the liberties of its people, and secures to them the blessings we enjoy? I think that one of the evils that beset us is a surfeit of liberty, an exuberance of the priceless blessings for which we are ungrateful.
When I look around and see our prosperity in everything — agriculture, commerce, art, science, and every department of education, physical and mental, as well as moral advancement, and our colleges I think, in the face of such an exhibition, if we can, without the loss of power, or any essential right or interest, remain in the Union, it is our duty to ourselves and to posterity to let us not too readily yield to this temptation - do So. Our first parents, the great progenitors of the human race, were not without a like temptation when in the garden of Eden. They were led to believe that their condition would be bettered,
that their eyes would be opened, and that they would become as gods. They, in an evil hour, yielded. Instead of becoming gods, they only saw their own nakedness.
I look upon this country, with our institutions, as the Eden of the world, the Paradise of the Universe. It may be that out of it we may become greater and more prosperous, but I am candid and sincere in telling you that I fear if we rashly evince passion, and, without sufficient cause, shall take that step, that, instead of becoming greater and more peaceful, prosperous, and happy - instead of becoming gods we will become demons,
and, at no distant day, commence cutting one another's throats.
THE RESTORATION OF THE UNION
ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS
REAT disasters are upon us and upon the
whole country, and without inquiry how these originated, at whose door the fault should be laid, let us now, as common sharers of common misfortunes, on all occasions consult as to the best means, under the circumstances as we find them, to secure the best ends toward future amelioration. Good government is what we want. This should
be the leading desire and the controlling object with all, and I need not assure you, if this can be obtained, that our desolated fields, our barns, our villages, and cities, now in ruins, will soon, like the phoenix, rise again from their ashes, and all our waste places will again, at no distant day, blossom as the rose.
Wars, and civil wars especially, always menace liberty they seldom advance it, while they usually end in its entire overthrow and destruction. Ours stopped just short of such a catastrophe. Our only alternative now is either to give up all hopes of constitutional liberty, or retrace our steps and look for its vindication and maintenance in the forums of reason and justice, instead of on the arena of arms; in the courts and halls of legislation, instead of on the fields of battle.
I have not lost my faith in the virtue, intelligence, and patriotism of the American people, or in their capacity for self-government. But for these great essential qualities of human nature to be brought into active and efficient exercise for the fulfilment of their patriotic hopes it is essential that the passions of the day should subside, that the causes of these passions should not now be discussed, that the late strife should not be stirred.